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International Day of Women and Girls in Science: ‘Women and Girls Belong In Science’ Declares UN Chief

New Age Islam News Bureau

12 February 2021

• Saudi Activist Loujain Al-Hathloul’s Family Credits Biden for Release

• British-Iranian Anthropologist Who Fled Iran Accused Of Sexual Abuse

• Iraqi Women Struggle to Escape Abuse As Domestic Violence Rises

• Egypt’s Mayar Sherif Delights Fans as She Creates History at Australian Open

• Hope Probe: UAE's Mars Mission Proves How Women Shine Bright In Space Sector

• Tunisia: Female Sports Participation in Tunisia Low, Says Secretary of State

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



 International Day of Women and Girls in Science: ‘Women and Girls Belong In Science’ Declares UN Chief


The UN chief underscored the need to recognize that “greater diversity fosters greater innovation”. Image Credit: Pixabay


February 12, 2021

NEW YORK — Closed labs and increased care responsibilities are just two of the challenges women in scientific fields are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN chief said in his message for the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, on Thursday.

“Advancing gender equality in science and technology is essential for building a better future”, Secretary-General António Guterres stated, “We have seen this yet again in the fight against COVID-19”.

Women, who represent 70 percent of all healthcare workers, have been among those most affected by the pandemic and those leading the response to it. Yet, as women bear the brunt of school closures and working from home, gender inequalities have increased dramatically over the past year.

Woman’s place is in the lab

Citing the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) he said that women account for only one-third of the world’s researchers and hold fewer senior positions than men at top universities, which has led to “a lower publication rate, less visibility, less recognition and, critically, less funding”.

Meanwhile, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning replicate existing biases.

“Women and girls belong in science”, stressed the Secretary-General.

Yet stereotypes have steered them away from science-related fields.

Diversity fosters innovation

The UN chief underscored the need to recognize that “greater diversity fosters greater innovation”.

“Without more women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the world will continue to be designed by and for men, and the potential of girls and women will remain untapped”, he spelled out.

Their presence is also critical in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to close gender pay gaps and boost women’s earnings by $299 billion over the next ten years, according to Guterres.

“STEM skills are also crucial in closing the global Internet user gap”, he said, urging everyone to “end gender discrimination, and ensure that all women and girls fulfill their potential and are an integral part in building a better world for all”.

‘A place in science’

Meanwhile, despite a shortage of skills in most of the technological fields driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, women still account for only 28 percent of engineering graduates and 40 percent of graduates in computer science and informatics, according to UNESCO.

It argues the need for women to be a part of the digital economy to “prevent Industry 4.0 from perpetuating traditional gender biases”.

UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay observed that “even today, in the 21st century, women and girls are being sidelined in science-related fields due to their gender”.

As the impact of AI on societal priorities continues to grow, the underrepresentation of women’s contribution to research and development means that their needs and perspectives are likely to be overlooked inthe design of products that impact our daily lives, such as smartphone applications.

“Women need to know that they have a place in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and that they have a right to share in scientific progress”, said Azoulay.

Commemorating the day at a dedicated event, General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir informed that he is working with a newly established Gender Advisory Board to mainstream gender throughout all of the UN’s work, including the field of science.

“We cannot allow the COVID-19 pandemic to derail our plans for equality”, he said, adding that increasing access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, for women and girls has emerged as “a pathway to gender equality and as a key objective of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

Volkan highlighted the need to accelerate efforts and invest in training for girls to “learn and excel in science”.

“From the laboratory to the boardroom, Twitter to television, we must amplify the voices of female scientists”, he stressed.

Meanwhile, UNESCO and the L'Oréal Foundation honored five women researchers in the fields of astrophysics, mathematics, chemistry, and informatics as part of the 23rdInternational Prize for Women in Science.

In its newly published global study on gender equality in scientific research, To be smart, the digital revolution will need to be inclusive, UNESCO shows that although the number of women in scientific research has risen to one in three, they remain a minority in mathematics, computer science, engineering, and artificial intelligence.

“It is not enough to attract women to a scientific or technological discipline”, saidShamila Nair-Bedouelle, Assistant UNESCO Director-General for Natural Sciences.

“We must also know how to retain them, ensuring that their careers are not strewn with obstacles and that their achievements are recognized and supported by the international scientific community”.


Saudi Activist Loujain Al-Hathloul’s Family Credits Biden for Release


Saudi Activist Loujain Al-Hathloul


Feb 12, 2021

RIYADH: The family of Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul said Thursday US President Joe Biden's election win helped secure her release after nearly three years' imprisonment, but cautioned she was still far from free.

Hathloul, 31, was provisionally released by Saudi authorities on Wednesday. She was detained in May 2018 with about a dozen other women activists, just weeks before the kingdom's historic lifting of a decades-long ban on female drivers -- a reform they had long campaigned for.

"I would say thank you Mr President that you helped my sister to be released," Alia al-Hathloul told a virtual press conference.

"It's a fact that Loujain was imprisoned during the previous administration, and she was released a few days after Biden's arrival to power.

"Biden's arrival helped and contributed a lot in my sister's release."

Saudi Arabia, which has detained hundreds of activists, clerics as well as royal family members over the past three years, abruptly accelerated some political trials -- including that of Hathloul -- after Biden's election win late last year.

Biden, inaugurated last month, has pledged to intensify scrutiny of powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's human rights record after the kingdom received something of a free pass under his predecessor, president Donald Trump.

On Wednesday, Biden welcomed the decision to release her, saying it was "the right thing to do".

The US State Department said the activist should never have been jailed.

The release of Hathloul, who is still under probation and is barred from leaving Saudi Arabia, came after her siblings launched a vigorous campaign overseas for her freedom in a major embarrassment for the kingdom.

"What we want now is real justice," Lina said, adding that her sister would exhaust all legal options to overturn restrictions imposed on her.

The siblings said the activist is on probation for three years and faces a five-year travel ban, prompting her to refrain from media interviews and limit her presence on social media.

"Loujain is still not free," Lina said, adding that the activist's parents are also banned from leaving Saudi Arabia.

The siblings posted pictures on Twitter of the smiling activist, who appeared physically weaker and had streaks of grey hair.

When asked what was the first thing her sister did upon her release, Alia said she "bought an ice-cream", a joy denied to her in detention.

In their first post-release video call with the activist on Wednesday, her other sister Lina al-Hathloul said they could not "trust her smile".

"We asked her 'when you were in prison, you said you were fine,'" said Lina.

"She said 'what did you want me to do? An electric (stun gun was) on my ear... They (prison authorities) were ready to electrocute me'."

Hathloul's family has alleged she experienced torture and sexual harassment in detention, claims repeatedly dismissed by a Saudi court.

In late December, a court handed Hathloul a prison term of five years and eight months for terrorism-related crimes, but her family said a partially suspended sentence -- and time already served -- paved the way for her early release.

The women's rights activist was convicted of inciting regime change and seeking to disrupt public order, in what her family deplored as a "sham" trial.

Saudi authorities have not officially commented on her detention, trial or release.

"With Hathloul banned from travel and threatened with more prison time if she does not stay silent, her ordeal remains a flagrant miscarriage of justice," said Adam Coogle, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

"Saudi Arabia should quash the convictions against Hathloul that essentially deem her women's rights activism 'terrorism', lift the travel ban, and end her suspended sentence."

While some women activists detained along with Hathloul have been provisionally released, several others remain imprisoned on what campaigners describe as opaque charges.

The detentions have cast a spotlight on the human rights record of the kingdom, an absolute monarchy which has also faced intense criticism over the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate.


British-Iranian Anthropologist Who Fled Iran Accused Of Sexual Abuse

12 Feb 2021

A number of women have accused a prominent British-Iranian anthropologist who recently fled Iran of being a sexual predator who should not be allowed to continue working with women, or with the vulnerable groups that are a focus of his research.

Kameel Ahmady, known for work on child marriage, female genital mutilation and LGBT communities in Iran, denies the allegations of sexual assault and harassment, which led to his suspension from Iran’s Sociology Association.

But in a now-deleted post on social media addressing the accusations he apologised for “mistakes” in the workplace, and “hurting people with my relaxed attitude to relationships”.

Four women have separately claimed to the Guardian he assaulted them, and others detailed allegations of repeated sexual harassment.

Friends and colleagues of the women support their accounts, saying they had been told about three of the alleged assaults, and multiple cases of alleged harassment, before survivors made their stories public.

The women spoke to the Guardian after Ahmady, who was recently sentenced to nearly a decade in jail on unrelated national security charges in Iran, skipped bail, fled the country and did multiple media interviews in the UK, including in the Guardian, telling a heroic story of his escape from the clutches of a brutal regime.

They say they fear that when he restarts research, other women could be at risk. Although he cannot return to Iran, many of the issues he has studied affect cross-border communities in the region, where he could continue working.

“When I heard about his other [alleged] victims, and the fact that they were being largely, if not completely ignored, I could not bottle it up any longer,” said one woman, who is speaking publicly about her experience for the first time.

“Every single thing I know about (him) makes their testimonies credible. He is a predator and a serial abuser. I am so afraid that he will go on to have other opportunities to work with vulnerable women, and hurt them the way he hurt me.”

Ahmady said in a statement that the accusations were “baseless slander”, organised by professional rivals and the Iranian state in an attempt to smear him and undermine his work.

He also said two accusers had been in consensual relationships with him. He did not say which ones or how he had identified them from anonymous accounts.

Some of the claims were first made public last year, when the global #MeToo movement found voice in Iran in an outpouring of accusations against prominent figures, including Ahmady. At least seven allegations against him were published anonymously on social media accounts in August and September last year.

That led to an investigation by Iran’s Sociology Association, which suspended his membership and ended his role as secretary of the Children Sociological Studies Group after finding that “at the minimum, some abuse of power had occurred”.

“(His) behaviour resulted in the sexual abuse of several young researchers and violated ethical codes governing scientific and research activities,” the group, which does not have political affiliations, said in the statement.

Ahmady said the accusations had not been tested in court, and described them as part of a campaign to “silence my voice”, which involved the Iranian security forces as well as personal enemies in academia.

“Since my escape from Iran, rival individuals and groups have been brought to bear upon me with the sole intention of destroying me, my research, as well as my professional and personal standing,” he said in the statement, which did not address any specific details of the allegations.

“The press is now being manipulated by them and those afraid of them, and those seeking to displace me as a scholar in my field.”

One woman the Guardian spoke to described allegations of serious assault that she said occurred over 15 years ago outside Iran. The others all detailed alleged attacks that they say took place while he was doing field work in Iran over the last decade.

Golshan* says she was unnerved when Ahmady began a sexually explicit conversation over lunch on her first day at work as a researcher, and then tried to offer her lemonade laced with alcohol on her second day.

She was working for a man she admired, who was on a self-proclaimed mission to “protect the vulnerable”, so it never crossed her mind that she might be at risk.

She says she only understood when it was too late, after he had led her into an empty apartment for what she thought was a work meeting, locked the door, and taken out the key. She was a university student, about 36 hours into her first job.

“When I figured out what was going on, it was really too late, there was no way out of that building. He was drunk and I didn’t really fight back because I thought he was going to hurt me,” she claimed.

In a statement Ahmady posted on social media shortly after the first allegations surfaced last year, he admitted “mistakes” and apologised to “anyone I have ever hurt”, but said all his sexual relationships had been consensual.

“There are massive differences between inadvertently hurting someone, and raping, abusing and forcing a person into a non-consensual relationship. I want to unequivocally say that I am not a rapist or an abusive person,” he said.

He went on to claim in the same statement that cultural differences and his “relaxed attitude” led to accusations of inappropriate behaviour.

“I now accept all justified criticisms, particularly in those instances when I did not have the correct understanding of the culture and failed to observe proper social protocols because of my different views on relationships and relaxed attitude in the workplace.”

The women who allege assault, and others who worked with him, suggest this argument is familiar. Ahmady often made sexual jokes, steered the discussion to sexually explicit subjects, and asked intrusive questions about their sex lives, they claim.

According to several of them, if they protested, he said that feminists should support sexual liberation, and insisted the sexualised conversations reflected his modernity. When women resisted his sexual advances he mocked them for being “conservative”.

One woman described her shock when Ahmady excused himself to go to the bathroom during what she thought was a work meeting, and re-emerged naked.

“He started laughing and said ‘what are you afraid of, this is something really natural, if you are afraid of me when I am naked it means you are conservative, provincial and small minded’,” she claimed. “After that he said ‘if you want to be a real feminist, and you want to solve your contradictions in your mind, you should accept to look at me when I am naked’.”

The UK-based gender equality activist Samaneh Savadi also said she received threats from his Twitter and WhatsApp accounts, after linking him to an anonymous allegation against “KA” on social media.

At the time, Ahmady was facing national security charges of co-operating with a “hostile state power” in his research projects. He has described the Iranian state as ideologically opposed to his work on sensitive topics.

Yet the messages to Savadi suggested he would tell security forces details about the accuser and her work in one of these sensitive fields, which could lead to her facing charges, if the post was not removed.

“In my previous interrogation they asked me about her,” the message said, indicating that he recognised the incident, and knew the woman’s identity – although the message described her account as ‘incomplete’.

“Now I am in a very difficult situation, if I decide to tell them the truth, it will be damaging to all of us. Would you please delete the post before it gets viral and makes trouble for all of us. We can also talk tomorrow. Thank you.”

Among the activist and research communities where he worked, anger about the claims has been compounded by disgust at the suggestion that he exploited young women’s feminism and idealism to create situations where abuse could take place.

”He’s taken advantage of the trust of these young women who are idealists … they thought working with him was a way to further their broader cause of women’s rights,” claimed Sussan Tahmasebi, a leading women’s rights activist. “His access to vulnerable woman, as a scholar who is claiming concern about the wellbeing of women and their empowerment, has to end.”

It could also have the potential to set back research into critical areas. Negative stereotypes about feminists and activists can make it hard to gain the trust of conservative communities like the ones that practice FGM and child marriage.

The allegations against Ahamdy could reinforce the worst of these, said Savadi, which may lead to them cutting off access others need to carry out vital research in future.

“We trusted him to do work on a very sensitive subject, and he betrayed all of us,” she said. “And I wonder did he chose these specific subjects to be able to build a relationship with women, to then take advantage of them?”

Another woman who worked with Ahmady said she did not witness sexual violence but ended their professional relationship over what she says was his inappropriate behaviour.

She claimed this included highly sexualised language, use of alcohol and hashish, and sexual relationships with young researchers that she considered an abuse of power, all in a work setting.

She also claimed that despite describing himself as committed to social issues, he repeatedly failed to credit female partners fully for their contribution to his work.

Ahmady said he would welcome having the allegations tested by a jury of his peers. There is little chance he would have faced trial in Iran, even if he had not fled; the women who alleged assault there said they did not feel they could press charges within the Iranian judicial system.

Iran criminalises consensual sexual relations outside marriage, so if rape victims report assault but are not believed by authorities, they risk prosecution themselves. And if a case goes to court, the mandatory punishment for convicted rapists is execution, placing a heavy burden on survivors seeking justice.

There is a pattern of behaviour across alleged attacks in Iran that were described to the Guardian by survivors. They all claim he targeted young women with whom he worked.

They allege he would engineer situations when he was alone with the women, on the pretext of meeting for work. They expected to be part of a group but arrived to find only Ahmady. Several said he offered them intoxicants that are illegal in Iran, including alcohol or hashish, or tricked them into consuming them.

Most of the women continued working with Ahmady for a period after experiencing assault or harassment, they said, because there were few other professional options available to them in the small and sensitive fields where they worked.

They said they tried to warn other women where they could, but part of the reason they made the difficult decision to tell their stories in public, at risk of being identified, was to help protect others.

“What can moderate my pain is that at least even if one person believes what has been done to me, and he is stopped from being able do anything like that to another woman,” Shadi said.


Iraqi Women Struggle to Escape Abuse As Domestic Violence Rises

By Simona Foltyn

12 Feb 2021

Baghdad, Iraq – Dhoha Sabah had been married for eighteen years when her husband first laid a hand on her. Crowded into a modest, single-room home in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighbourhood, the couple had always struggled to put food on the table for their four children.

But then the coronavirus pandemic struck, sending Iraq’s oil-dependent economy into a downward spiral and putting many out of work.

“We don’t have an income. The kids need to go to school, and I cannot afford it. Whenever I talk to him about this issue, he beats me and the kids,” Sabah told Al Jazeera. On at least one occasion, Sabah had to seek medical care because of her husband’s physical abuse.

Police say domestic violence has increased in Iraq by about 20 percent since the onset of the pandemic, which has pushed millions of Iraqis below the poverty line. Poor neighbourhoods like Sadr City have been most affected by mounting economic and psychological pressures.

The rise in domestic violence has highlighted the limited legal and financial support available for victims in Iraq, who often find themselves trapped in abusive households due to conservative social norms that consider it shameful for women to leave or seek justice.

Sabah thought about divorcing her husband, but like so many Iraqi women who lack financial independence, she had no alternatives.

“I had decided to take my kids and run away, but where could I go? Who could take me in? My parents are also poor people,” she said.

And so she turned to Iraq’s community police, a unit under the interior ministry whose mandate is to resolve intracommunal conflicts before they escalate.

“When a wife complains against her husband in a police station or goes to a court, for sure their relationship will never return to normal. But if the community police intervenes, solves their conflicts through reconciliation, things will return to normal,” Brigadier General Ghalib Atiya Khalaf, the head of the community police, told Al Jazeera.

After several mediation sessions and with support from Sadr City’s tribes, the community police forced Sabah’s husband to sign a promise that he would not beat her again. For now, the abuse has stopped.

“If we can unite families and preserve the community, we will reduce crime rates,” Khalaf said. “We found that most criminals came from broken families.”

The community police claim to have a 90 percent success rate in resolving domestic abuse cases. But critics say the unit prioritises reconciliation over justice for victims.

Weak laws

Violence against women is normalised in Iraqi society and laws. According to a 2012 study by the ministry of planning, more than half of surveyed women believed that beating a wife for disobeying her husband’s order did not constitute violence.

United Nations statistics suggest that 46 percent of currently married women in Iraq were exposed to at least one form of emotional, physical or sexual violence by their spouse. Very few file a criminal case.

“The social values and customs consider it shameful for the woman to file a complaint against her husband or her brother. Even if she did file a case, as soon as her family hears about it, she’ll drop it,” said Marwa Abdul Redha, a young lawyer who used to handle domestic violence cases.

Abdul Redha could not recall a single case that resulted in a conviction of an abuser. She eventually turned her attention to other legal work, after the threats and hurdles she encountered while trying to defend victims began taking a psychological toll.

Iraq currently does not have a domestic violence law. While the 1969 penal code punishes assault that results in bodily injury with at least one year in prison, it also considers “the punishment of a wife by her husband” to be a “legal right”.

A draft domestic violence law was first introduced to Parliament in 2014, but progress has stalled amid widespread political opposition from legislators who believe it would erode Iraq’s social fabric.

“We cannot just copy western experiences that will negatively impact our society,” said legislator Jamal al-Mohammadawi from the National Approach Block, a party that holds eight seats.

“I believe the new law will increase divorces rates and it will increase hostility between wife and husband.”

One provision is particularly controversial: The right for non-governmental organisations to open shelters for victims.

“We cannot allow just anyone to open a shelter,” Mayson Al Saedi, the head of the women’s committee and member of Sairoon, the largest party in Parliament, told Al Jazeera.

Currently, there is one government-run shelter in Baghdad, but it only provides accommodation on a judge’s order. That would require filing a police case, something many women are reluctant to do because of the stigma associated with entering a police station.

Underground shelters

Some rights groups run underground shelters, despite serious legal and security risks.

“We face many challenges and difficulties to operate shelters that protect women,” said Ibtisam Mania from the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq, which runs several shelters for women in Baghdad.

“We often face issues with tribes. When they know a woman from their tribe is in our shelter, it’s as if they start a war against us. The police has also assaulted several of our shelters.”

Last year, the government filed a law case against the organisation, demanding its dissolution. The charges, seen by Al Jazeera, include dividing families, exploiting women and helping them to abscond. The prime minister’s office did not reply to repeated requests for comment.

Al Jazeera gained access to one of these shelters, under the condition of withholding its location and concealing the identity of all its residents.

“Maybe they will find my location. I’m scared to sleep at night. I’m afraid of the tribes,” said one woman who had taken refuge there.

Married at only 17, she endured her husband’s beating, rape and psychological terror for more than 20 years. She often thought about leaving, but both his and her family pressured her to stay.

“We have tribal rules. If the woman left her husband’s house, she’d be killed. If she goes to her own tribe, they will tell her, ‘return to your husband even if he beats you, you have to bear that’.”

The tipping point came when he began to sexually harass their daughters. One night, they crept out of their home and came to the shelter in Baghdad, where she hopes to start a new life.

She does not want to call the police for fear she could be forced to return or lose custody of her children.

“The law doesn’t protect me. It’s the men who hold all the power.”


Egypt’s Mayar Sherif Delights Fans as She Creates History at Australian Open

February 09, 2021

CAIRO: After Mayar Sherif smashed one final ace, she turned to the crowd assembled around Court 6 at the Australian Open, and let out a huge “allez.”

Her small group of raucous fans had witnessed history unfold before their eyes at Melbourne Park on Tuesday, as Sherif became the first Egyptian woman to win a main draw match at a Grand Slam.

“It means a lot because this was a barrier that I had to pass, a mental barrier,” Sherif said in her press conference after overcoming French qualifier Chloe Paquet 7-5, 7-5 en route to the Australian Open second round.

“With the conditions that are here it was very, very tough to adapt to it, especially to adapt my game to it. It took us a while. Courts are faster, the heat, everything happens so fast, it’s very tough to control the ball. I’m very, very happy with my accomplishment and I’m going for more.”

The 24-year-old, who also made history for her nation last September when she qualified for Roland Garros and became the first Egyptian woman to make it to the main draw at a major, has been receiving unprecedented attention from fans and sponsors back home.

Tennis is popular in Egypt, but rarely has a player caught the eye of the public the way Sherif has, her exploits even prompting Liverpool footballer Mohamed Salah to congratulate her on Twitter during her historic run in Paris.

She backed up her French Open result by storming to the $100,000 ITF title in Charleston in November, and started 2021 by winning three Australian Open qualifying rounds — relocated to Dubai — before hopping on a plane to Melbourne.

Sherif’s game is better suited to clay, which makes her recent success on hard courts in Dubai and Australia all the more impressive.

During the offseason, she inked deals with a list of sponsors including Vodafone, Allianz, Peugeot and Ora Developers. When she landed in Cairo, there were scores of fans waiting for her with signs at the airport. She appeared on the biggest talk shows in the country and even had a surprise Zoom call with Salah, courtesy of their common sponsor, Vodafone, later meeting the star in person.

Sherif described it as a “priceless” experience and walked away from the chat with the “Egyptian King” with invaluable tips.

“I was shocked when he told me that he has been watching tennis, and has been following my matches and he told me that when I go to Wimbledon, if he’s in the UK, he will come and watch. He is such a down-to-earth and humble human being. I really appreciate his support,” Sherif told Arab News.

“I asked him how he handled the expectations and the pressure, and he told me he always visualized himself, since he was young, that he could make it this far. He told me that how you think, mentally, is what will eventually get you there. That’s the most important thing, because ultimately anybody can do anything if you have that level, but what puts you there is your mental effort.”

Egyptian tennis fans in Melbourne are already making plans to attend Sherif’s second round against Slovenian world No.104 Kaja Juvan, scheduled for Thursday.

Mina Nagib, an Egyptian living in Melbourne, has attended every Australian Open for the past 10 years, and was there for Sherif’s triumph over Paquet on Tuesday. He says he has gathered a group of at least 50 Egyptians that will join him at Sherif’s next match.

“It felt unreal,” Nagib said. “It was honestly an honor to be at the match today. She made us so proud, and she deserves all the love and support that she could get from her fans here in Melbourne. She’s an unbelievable and mature character, and she’s got so much potential and charisma.”

For Sherif, this kind of attention is something she has strived for her entire career. While others might have crumbled under that kind of pressure or responsibility, Sherif thrives amid such adulation and she showed her appreciation on Tuesday by taking a photo with every single fan that turned up for her match.

“It’s not a burden at all; it’s completely the opposite,” said the world No.131. “I feel very supported by the Egyptian people, from my partners, my sponsors. It’s been great, and honestly it’s just pushing me forward and forward.”

Sherif was stunned by the backing she received at Melbourne Park, not realizing her fans would turn up Down Under.

“It was an incredible feeling. I felt like, ‘oh wow, people know me here in Melbourne? They came all the way to the tournament to come watch?’ And it’s not like they came and just sat there and clapped. They were so happy and they were so proud and were with me every single point. That gave me so much support,” Sherif said.

“My opponent would double fault and they would cheer loudly, and she’s like, ‘what’s happening? This isn’t war’,” she added with a laugh. “I completely enjoy it, I love it. I love the attention from the people so I always enjoy it when these conditions are there.”


Hope Probe: UAE's Mars Mission Proves How Women Shine Bright In Space Sector

February 11, 2021

Women comprise 34 per cent of the mission and 80% of its science team.

The UAE marked the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Thursday at a perfect time — just days after its Hope Probe reached Mars, a historical achievement made possible by a woman-led team.

UAE celebrates Hope Probe success with cheers, applause

“The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) set an unprecedented standard for the inclusion of women, which challenged global conventions on women’s participation in the space sector: Women comprise 34 per cent of the mission and 80% of its science team,” said Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency and Science Lead of the EMM.

“Today, on International Day of Women and Girls in Science, I stand with the UAE in its continued commitment to the inclusion and participation of women in all areas of society. From our homes, to our communities and workplaces, women’s daily extraordinary contributions are crucial and cannot be overlooked.”

To mark the occasion, Expo 2020 Dubai is teaming up with the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, Unesco, and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs to promote gender equality in science.

Expo 2020 Dubai will bring the world together to highlight the importance of women and girls in science, celebrating leading women in the field, forging new partnerships, and boosting opportunities for women’s participation via a rich and diverse programme.

Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “To address the complex challenges of today, the world needs science, and science needs women and girls. By teaming up with these distinguished organisations, International Day of Women and Girls in Science will see Expo activate its programming to foster a deeper understanding of how women and girls can further be at the forefront of scientific and economic development.”

When the Expo hosts Space Week from October 17 to 23, it will gather several female voices to look at the role of women in the sustainable exploration and commercialisation of space, and how space reflects the ambition of the UAE as a nation.

Running from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, Expo will spotlight women who have smashed gender stereotypes, looking at their work and the impact it has had on their communities, our region and the world. It will welcome scores of highly skilled women from across the planet, whose innovations and commitment to science and technology are not only solving some our greatest challenges, but also breaking down barriers and inspiring entry into these fields.


Tunisia: Female Sports Participation in Tunisia Low, Says Secretary of State


Tunis/Tunisia — Secretary of State for Youth and Sports Sihem Ayadi said low female sports participation in Tunisia accounts for top women athletes seldom taking part in continental and international competitions.

"There are hardly any women in some sports associations," she said in an interview with TAP. The number of female coaches and managers in sports structures is still very low, particularly in regions.

The ministry will carry out a national census to determine the number of male and female athletes, their geographical distribution and breakdown by discipline. This will help develop a new plan to promote sports across country.

Moreover, Ayadi said the law on sports structures, which is being amended, will help clubs and federations overcome the financial crisis and have their autonomy.. Actually, Law N°95 keeps them dependent on the line ministry.

"Finishing touches will be brought to the amended version of the law before it is considered by the government and brought to the floor," Ayadi FURTHER told TAP.



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